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Detention of children


If you are between the ages of 10 and 17, there are a number of different types of institutions to which you may be sent by the courts. People aged 18 years or over may be sent to prison.

A number of factors are taken into account including your age at the time of the court appearance, your character, the nature of the offence and the availability of a suitable place.

Major reforms to the detention of children are underway. There is information on the regulation of detention introduced by the Children Act 2001 in our document on children and the criminal justice system.

Children detention schools

Former Industrial Schools and Reformatory Schools are now called children detention schools and are managed by the Irish Youth Justice Service which is part of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. There were 3 children detention schools which were considered suitable to detain remanded and committed children. They were:

  • Oberstown Boys School
  • Oberstown Girls School
  • Trinity House School

Places of detention were for male offenders aged 16 and 21 who were sent there instead of prison. The main place of detention had been St. Patrick's Institution, which was formally known as Borstal and took male offenders between the ages of 16 and 21 years.

A new national children detention facility for children under the age of 18 is being developed at Oberstown. Since June 2016, the 3 detention schools mentioned above have been amalgamated to form a child detention school known as the Oberstown Children Detention Campus.

Girls from the age of 10 and up to the age of 18, and boys from the age of 10 and up to the age of 17 are detained at the Oberstown campus. Boys aged 17 on remand are detained at St. Patrick's Institution, while sentenced 17-year-olds are detained at Wheatfield Place of Detention.

Page edited: 4 January 2017



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